Elevator Up

Lessons Learned From Sake: Giving Yourself To Your Work.

There’s a rather interesting documentary currently on Netflix called The Birth of Sake. This documentary is about one of the oldest breweries in Japan that still brews sake in the old fashioned way; through a laborious method that requires the brewers to be on site for several months of the year with only two days off a month. Watching this documentary I was deeply moved because these men really gave themselves to their work, and despite the harshness of their endeavors made something with their own hands. I won’t share any more about the documentary because I’m hoping you watch it for yourselves, but what I will say is that as I grow older and feel myself becoming a cog in the corporate machine I sincerely respect the men and women that truly give themselves to work they believe in. They tirelessly expend all their energy to the tasks assigned to them and ultimately come out cleansed from it. Maybe we’re missing something if we don’t have that same drive.

Before I go any further with this conversation let me first say this, I do not believe in working for any entity that drains your spirit, life force, or morality. I wouldn’t give myself to work that doesn’t align with what I am, not for any amount of money, though selling out is super appealing at times like when the car payment or rent is due (great times to sell out). There is something beautiful in working and believing in what you do. Now, that being said I’m not naive enough to think that our society would run without society’s “downtrodden” functioning as the cogs. Hey that’s capitalism. However, it is my humble opinion that we should try our best to buck that system. The reality is that if we all could focus on what we were most passionate about and really give ourselves to it that humanity would truly be epic, and maybe we could evolve past the social limitations we’ve created to keep certain people (Yep, you know who I’m talking about) away from access to a comfortable lifestyle.

Life is too short for ___________________. It’s this statement that has always been a cliche, but be that as it may its never lost its validity. Life inevitably will come to an end for us all one day, and while some of us are content to wait in line. I don’t want to wait for my death on baited breath. I want it to find me enjoying my life doing what I love. For me, it’s writing. I want to write with such a vigor and vitality that years from now my work ethic will be studied to give some other dreamer the permission to exceed.

Quick side note: there’s a paper on my work desk right now with a breakdown of famous artist’s creativity. When they slept, when they created, when they did work for other people, etc. It didn’t help me, but looking at does inspire me to get on my own clock.

Like the men in the documentary I want to give myself to the writing and truly face it head on no matter the consequences. So, with that being said I’ll be introducing some new things to the site. Like pictures, yep we’re shedding some light in here, videos, and a plethora of other dreams I’ve a been patiently waiting to unleash on the masses. Starting next week something new will be dropping.

自業自得

“Work of self, obtainment of self.”

T.L.

Passin’ Me By: A Lesson in Confidence & Dating.

The Pharcyde’s Passin’ Me By from the album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde is one of those songs that most men can definitely recognize and vibe with because we’ve all taken that “L.” You know the “L” I’m talking about, that one where you may have stepped up to a woman and got the mean swerve, that one where you didn’t even have the gas to give it a real shot and you rejected the shot before it even left your fingertips, or that one where you confidently stepped up and that shot just couldn’t and didn’t sink. We as men have all been there, hell it’s a rite of passage in my opinion. If you haven’t experienced any such losses (yeah L’s are losses in this instance just in case you didn’t know. I won’t tell.) I have serious doubts about your game; you’re looking unfamiliar right now.

I too have taken shots, and Lord knows all of them have not gone in. I’ve made some down right ugly shots, I’ll admit it if you won’t. Even to this day despite the semi-woke charisma I wield I shoot and it doesn’t always go in. Such is life. Speaking of missed shots let’s talk about a massive L I took and the lesson I learned from it. Hooray, story time.

INT: Dimly Lit Concert Hall, Night

It’s Lit. Two boozy whiskeys and a tequila sangria in and I’m buzzing. My co-workers convinced me to go to a free weekday concert and it was a great idea. The liquor and the vibe had found me and invited me to chill and I wasn’t saying no. So as we head to the back of the venue a woman of cosmic brilliance graces the stage. Her voice was like Amel Larrieux, and her vibe was Groove Theory’s Tell Me on repeat after three shots of the vice of your choice and a slow dance on a moonlit rooftop. Yes, she was beauty personified… She was bad and without rivals. I was mesmerized, not just because she was attractive but because there was just something there. What can I say, I love women that can sing. Anyway, after her set she stepped off stage and walked around the crowd. Of course I wanted to immediately shoot every shot in my arsenal when she came in my direction. So when my co-worker started talking about how great her music was I was ready. I smile, open my mouth and I promise you absolutely nothing comes out. And I do mean nothing. She’s smiling back expecting words and I was dead in the water. Needless to say she says her goodbyes to my coworker and smiles again at me before walking off into the dark room.

Now this was totally a L I could return from, or so I told myself. So I stepped outside and collected myself. I gave myself the hype speech of the century and completely invoked the spirit of Liquid courage to assist. Mid speech she comes outside and starts a loose conversation with some other concert goers. Fully hyped I await that conversational lapse and I approach her, “Hey, I really vibe with your music. What’s your name?” Hella basic I know, but it was a game time decision. It worked and she smiles:
Quick side note, if her smile alone makes you think “fuck it, if I pull her I’m out the game” she’s next level bad.
Despite the game winning pep talk I’d given myself I still was flopping. I end up getting her stage name and IG completely blowing the open lay up. At this point my soul leaped out my body and handed me a glowing “L” as it walked me back inside. It was a pain to experience an a even bigger pain to mentally reenact for y’all. It gets more painful because I spent the rest of the night in the cut staring in full creep mode at her (rookie mistake) trying to find some way to make one final shot before the buzzer. When the concert is over and the venue empties I tried to make one last Hail Mary play. It’s just me and her we lock eyes. As I approach again she takes a mean Boobie Miles, Willie Beamen cut hard to the right and goes straight to this old man who’s definitely apart of the stage crew not even acknowledging the hello leaving my mouth. And it was at that point I realized there was no coming back. I leave defeated and legit regretting my lameness.

And….SCENE!

This L taught me a lot about myself, as most L’s in life do. Particularly it made me realize the level of confidence I have when it comes to the women I’m comfortable approaching. That thought alone sat me down and made me think. I can say without any hesitation that if she had been a solid 7, or hell even a 7.5 I would have been in rare form but the fact that I perceived her so much higher than me and my skills without any knowledge of who she was, what she was like, or even a tiny bit of understanding about her personality really hit me.

In the mental conversations that followed I came face to face with my own insecurities. Somewhere in my development I gave myself a level that I was comfortable with completely capping my achievement not just with beautiful women, but in life. I don’t remember the conversation or the internal dialogue but it happened and it still influences me.

Now you all may not have anchors in the same places, but I think we all have limited our potential somewhere in our lives. Think about it, what are you comfortable with? A cushy corporate job/career instead of the hard fought one creative you’ve been secretly dreaming about, your weight, your partner, etc. What have you subconsciously accepted to be your limit?

Our experiences and society will often dictate set limits on you that you can either accept silently or loudly rebel against. Don’t keep yourself grounded on Earth when there’s so much space above you. Choose your own limits and base them solely on where and when you want to stop not on some subconscious insecurity a version of you years ago decided was safe.
Remember, it’s not until humans stopped hugging the shoreline that we discovered new lands. Follow your own stars and chart your own courses.

T.L.

Of Mice & Men: A Discussion on Change.

“The best laid-plans of mice and men often go awry…”-Robert Burns

One of the biggest things in this life that we all have to understand an eventually move past is that people change. Growth happens somewhere in our day to day runnings when we least expect it. Soon people who we pegged being one way transform into something different seemingly overnight leaving people both amazed and confused.

A truth about human nature is that we are creatures of habit and pattern. Once a pattern is established, our minds grip it tightly and expect it to be true indefinitely especially when dealing with behaviors. That’s probably where the manly tenet, “You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife.” came from.
*Disclaimer: I certainly don’t believe that’s true, but follow me for a second.
Somewhere in our past, long ago in a city far away a man witnessed a woman’s behavior over time and decreed that it would never change deeming her unworthy of the housewife role. Now we surely don’t know the rest of the story who’s to say that she didn’t impress on that man what a proper housewife could be after some time. More research would be required for that, but my point is we branded that statement to say that people’s negative behaviors can’t ever change, the current sentiment “once a fuck boy, always a fuck boy” is the same way. These last few months after many books (I’m reading voraciously; from self-improvement, to cookbooks, to race relations, to investing, you name it.) and some honest self reflection, much of which can be read between the lines on this website, I am earnestly trying to fight that mentality and be the one zebra that changes his stripes. In doing so I often feel the need to apologize for my past behaviors to the women that deserve it, and I assure you that is Pandora’s Box filled to the brim with equal parts disgust, loathing, resentment, and distrust. None of these conversations have gone like I’d expected, and it’s all due to the lasting impression my past behaviors left.

Despite what changes I make these women, understandably so, wouldn’t just take any words I say as proof of change. I’m incongruent because regardless of what they see it’s in contention with a lasting image of past behaviors that sit comfortably cataloged in their minds; A hologram of ain’t shittiness if you will.

So full disclosure, I began writing this post with the purpose of discussing what happens when a fuck boy grows up/evolves into a man, and how he must contend with his past image in the eyes of those who knew him essentially battling with versions of himself that no longer exist, but in reality that’s true of any person changing from a negative to a positive state. Changing yourself means fighting those mental doppelgängers that appear both within yourself and in the minds of those closest to you.

If the title threw you off not to worry here’s the tie in. Remember that paraphrased quote from Robert Burns, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry…” well it is especially true in the context of change and transformation. We plan major changes in our lives fairly often like New Year’s resolutions, diets, lifestyle changes, etc. and yet with each we have to face and defeat the exhaustless entity that is the image of our past behavior. These mental holograms we fight don’t have expiration dates remains they’re taking up valuable space until they can be replaced with something else. So it’s no wonder things go awry when we plan to change things; but despite that we can’t give up hope. Hell, if hoes can become housewives and fuckboys valued members in the community (if you think about it you probably know a lot of success stories) there’s a chance for everyone to defeat their past in mental combat, it just takes a little extra sweat to get there. All it takes is time to build new images of who you are so you can reinforce the person who you will be.

So to my fellow zebras, we can change our stripes. We can take on new patterns and design the image we wish to be. Here’s to the newer you.
T.L.

New Year, Who Dis?

New Year, Who Dis?

It’s the same me, and I’m graciously accepting that. A new year doesn’t give me anything but a ephemeral sense of change but to those that it doesn’t, “Cheers.”

Everyday presents the opportunity to be different than the person we were the day prior. Anyone who’s no longer a major player in my life totally believes that now (yep my brilliant reader that is indeed a petty moment brought to you by the letter W). That’s nothing new to any of us though. We change on the daily, but be that as it may a new year convinces us that we can be tabula rasa and that entices us. Even now many of us have subconsciously planned out a new us and eagerly anticipate major W’s this new year, and that’s beautiful. I pray earnestly that we all find the people we wish to be with surrounded by, and the love we need to be in.

But since it’s late and the celebratory day drinking is catching up let’s talk about something real. Half of us have people who honestly don’t deserve a new anything because they dogged the old everything. Yes this means you _________ (insert category here). We tolerated many of you out of love and a sense responsibility but we cannot for our own sanity carry you further. In this new year we the enlightened party shall not be rolling over your current plan due to lack of funding. Anyone who’s drained my soul reserve last year consider this your notice. Feel free to join the “new year who dis?” crowd and lose yourself in the masses of people who don’t know you.

  1. Ex’s: Many of you I dogged last year or years prior. That’s on me (partially in some cases) and you deserve peace. Go forth with my blessing and a commitment of no late night, midday, or morning texts claiming that I miss you (CG I’m totally guilty of that and I’m sorry. Won’t happen again Love). Here’s to looking forward, and not backwards.
  2. The Dreaded Can’t Get Rights: We tried it and things for whatever reason didn’t work. Either I was too opinionated or you just weren’t the woman you thought you were and I didn’t have the heart to tell you how much you didn’t match me (it’s a soft spot for me. I’m working on it dammit). But we shall not continue the rotation of maybes. You know, “the it’s been a few months maybe he’s changed his views”(I haven’t) , or  the “maybe I’m in a better mindset (you’re not)” line of thinking. We couldn’t reach the cruising altitude and so for the safety of other passengers we shouldn’t try to leave the runway. Nothing against any of you. You’re all winners, just not on my team.
  3. The Fuck Its: You the why should I even try, the Nothing Matters, the why should I live the lie, or more simply put “the Fuck its” are this years final topic. You have blinded yourself into thinking that your actions or your very life doesn’t matter and you’re right. It doesn’t matter…unless you make it matter.  Right now you’re convinced that it doesn’t because that allows you not to try. You in your infinite wisdom have created a mindset that allows you to stay stagnant and motionless. You’ve rationalized a shitty life through coping mechanisms that leave you empty so you believe that life is empty. Nope that’s not how this thing works. Life, real life is hard but rewarding if you get up and try to make something of it. Those that simply judge from the sidelines and tell those that are living that we lying to ourselves are nothing more than zombies dreaming of life. In your daily life happiness escapes you because you somehow forgot that it’s a daily struggle to maintain. Contentedness and Joy aren’t always going to be consistent so you must violently fight for what brings the color to your life (unless it’s killing people or other acts of serial killing. You should totally chill on that.). Don’t psych yourself out before giving the life you want a shot. Fail brilliantly and then if you don’t like how it turned out go all out in your fuck its. Until then your life already sucks why not get a reward from it.

It’s 11:28pm and all is well. I’m going to leave 2016 knowing I did the best I could and try my damnedest not to make any more rookie mistakes. Happy New Year Lowlifes. May the Odds ever be in your favor in the Struggle Game of life.

Love,

T.L

*Originally written 11/31/16 at 11:28pm so yeah, I’m a bit late. Mea Culpa.

Thank You For Playing

I respect people that play the game of life. People who wake up daily and really try to make something of the day and make it all mean something are the true players. It’s like being Neo or one of the many other people trapped in the Matrix.

Yes waking up the matrix we live in is easy, but the real question is are you really controlling it? Are you an active participant in your life?

If the answer is no welcome to the game. We’re on the same level. The Matrix is a little harder than you thought right?

It’s cool, no judgement. Like I said before I respect you for playing. The world is filled with people feel like they’re smarter than the people who are trying, but never really participate in their own happiness. Being smarter than the game and the people struggling for their chance at happiness is wonderful in theory but actually exerting the energy to play a hand at this life will humble you.

I’m all down for Narcissism, shit I believe in me too, but I can’t take you seriously until you play your hand at happiness. It’s super easy to be on the side lines and judge others while living in your head mulling over the should have, would have, could haves. That’s not real unfortunately. Sure reality is relative but if you’re not trying to be the person you want in life we don’t have much room for discussion. You gotta participate in life. In this game there’s no one who’s too cool for school. You either play to win or you don’t.

That’s life in a nutshell. Build the life you want or don’t and go with what’s left over. At least that’s my understanding of it. No one is given the perfect life we’re all working with what we have. Like J. Cole said in his song, Love Yourz “there’s no such thing as a life that’s better than yours.” You can’t prove anyone but you exists in this world. Why not take the life you’re given and do something with it? At the end of the day I want to have something that lasts when I meet my God. Even if he shades me for living wrong I left something that lasted. If the Christian-esque God I believe in doesn’t exist I am perfectly fine helping someone else be better through the actions I decided to make each day.

I guess that’s the point right. Logically the human mind can’t prove anything but itself to be alive. We live each day on the faith that something is taking our mindless musings and turning them into some grand design. I blindly believe that alone as I may be, and at my end I will die knowing I did something for someone along the way. There’s my solace.

This is how I hope other people live their lives, but I know it’s not the case. I pray that everyone gets there eventually but I won’t fool myself into believing it. That’s why I have a deep respect for anyone that actually attempts to make their life something their proud of. Sitting in judgement is the easy part.  Being greater than you are however isn’t the same. So take a chance on life. Be different than the opposition and never be afraid to pursue your beliefs till their ends.

I mean because why not? If nothing matters at day’s end why not try one time?